In a move to help residents during the coronavirus pandemic, the mayor and council in Nokomis, Sask., have decided to cancel utility bills for the first half of this year.
It’s not a deferral, the town says — residents will not have to pay their water and sewer bills at all until June.
Nokomis Mayor David Mark said because the town is small — with a population of roughly 400 — it has the ability to do these kinds of things. The town has less staff and fewer projects to pay for than bigger centres like Regina or Saskatoon, he said.
“We’ve looked at our 2020 budget and made adjustments and scaled back,” Mark said. “It’s something that we’re able to do and we feel that it’s more important now to help people with their financial situation than it is for us to move ahead.”
The people who have already paid their bills will have those payments credited toward future bills.
People in town are happy with the move, the mayor said.
“It feels good to see people happy with the decision that council’s made to help them out,” he said.
“I’ve always been a proponent of small communities. I think that they are resilient and flexible and this is just another example of how we come together and help each other.”
Although the town is small, Mark said there are a lot of business to support in Nokomis. He hopes residents will spend the money they save locally.
“We realize we can’t compete against outlets like Amazon, but we can provide people with [the majority of things they need],” he said.
Nokomis is roughly 120 kilometres north of Regina.